Captains announced, team awards presented at annual Football Dinner
Feb 24, 2014
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Four seniors were announced as the permanent
football team captains to put the finishing touches on the 2013
Golden Eagle season, and team award winners were announced at
Tennessee Tech's annual Football Awards Dinner Sunday afternoon.
The team also celebrated the 12 players who made up its Senior
The top honor of the day was the announcement of senior defensive
lineman Jordan Johnson (photo below) as winner of the
60th annual Robert Hill Johnson Award. Johnson started every game
in 2013 and played 39 in his career. This year he had 38 total
tackles including 6.5 tackles-for-loss. He also blocked two kicks,
and was named the OVC Special Teams Player of the Week.
The Robert Hill Johnson Award was established in 1952, and is
considered the most prestigious award presented to a Golden Eagle
player each year.
The team's Academic Award went to Normand, a senior from Oak
Ridge, Tenn., who earned his accounting degree in three years
and played his final season as a graduate student while beginning
work toward a master's degree in accounting degree. Normand started
all 12 contests as a senior, and finished his career with 36
starts. The Sonny Allen Team Leadership Award was also presented to
Senior linebacker Blake
Adams won the Unsung Hero Award. An interdisciplinary studies
major from Stone Mountain, Ga., Adams played in played in 44 games
in his four-year career, including all 12 games as a senior. He
ranked third on the team in total tackles with a career-best
Jordan Johnson (left) accepts the Robert Hill Johnson
Bill andRena Johnson, and head coach Watson
The Tech Pride Award was presented to linebacker Seth McDonald, a senior from Sparta, Tenn., who saw
action in all 12 games in his final season. A backup linebacker, he
also played on special teams and as a fullback in short yardage
Two players shared the Bill Dupes Inspiration Award. It went to
linebacker Jerry King and defensive back Cory McDonald. A senior from Stone Mountain, Ga., King
overcame injuries that had sideined him off-and-on throughout his
career, and played in seven games. He was a vocal leader, both on
and off the field. McDonald, a senior from Redwood City, Calif.,
played in all 12 contests and made 38 tackles with one
The Tony Stone Bumble Bee DB Award was presented to safety Marty Jones, a junior from Cincinnati, Ohio, who
returned from two years of injuries that kept him out of action.
Jones, who was also won the award as Most Valuable Defensive
Player, finished the year ranked second on the team and fourth in
the OVC with 98 total tackles. He also led the squad with two
interceptions, had five tackles-for-loss, one fumble forced and two
The Most Valuable Offensive Player honor went to quarterback Darian Stone, a junior from Clinto, Tenn. Despite
being hampered by injuries, Stone was the team's leading rusher
with 536 yards and seven touchdowns, and also passed for 1,008
yards and four touchdowns.
Punter Chad Zinchini received the Most Valuable
Special Teams Player Award. A senior from Hendersonville, Tenn.,
Zinchini won for the second straight year after leading the OVC and
ranking second in the nation in punting average. He was a
first-team all-OVC selection and second-team All-America
Five additional MVP Awards were presented to position players.
In the trenches, Wesley
Sherrill was named the Most Valuable Offensive Lineman and Malcolm Mitchell received the Most Valuable Defensive
Lineman awards. Sherrill, a senior from Antioch, Tenn., finished
his career with 36 starts while playing, at times, both guard and
tackle. Mitchell, a senior from Stone Mountain, Ga., ranked eight
on the team overall and tops on the defensive line, with 47
tackles. He led Tech and ranked among OVC leaders with 13
quarterback sacks and 7.5 tackles-for-loss.
The other MVP honors were for linebacker, receiver and offensive
Tra'Darius Goff, a junior from Coumbia, Tenn., was
named the Most Valuable Linebacker winner for the second
consecutive year. He led Tech and ranked second in the OVC (by one
tackle) with 101 total tackles, topping the 100-tackle plateau for
the second straight time. He had three sacks, 8.5 tackles for loss,
forced three fumbles and recovered two.
The Most Valuable Receiver honor went to Zack
Ziegler, a senior from Greenbrier, Tenn., who missed the final
four games of the year with an injury and still led Tech with 30
catches for for 180 yards and two touchdowns.
The Most Valuable Offensive Back award was presented to two
players. It was shared by Stephen Bush, a junior from Cookeville, Tenn., and Bud Golden, a senior from Cincinnati. Bush was third
on the team in rushing with 306 yards and tied for the team lead
with seven touchowns. He also caught six passes for 53 yards.
Golden finally got onto the field in the fifth game of the season,
but only played three quarters before suffering a season-ending leg
injury. Still, in his brief playing stint, Golden made a huge
difference in the game by bulldozing his way for 38 key yards and
The final activity at the dinner was a recognition of the team's
12 senior players, many of them joined by their parents and family
members. The seniors inluded:
LB Blake Adams, Stone Mountain, Ga.
RB Bud Golden, Cincinnati, Ohio
DL Jordan Johnson, Miami, Fla.
LB Jerry King, Stone Mountain, Ga.
DB Cory McDonald, Redwood City, Calif.
LB Seth McDonald, Sparta, Tenn.
DE/LB Malcolm Mitchell, Stone Mountain, Ga.
DL Lamar Moore, Nashville, Tenn.
OL James Normand, Oak Ridge, Tenn.
OL Wesley Sherrill, Antioch, Tenn.
WR Zack Ziegler, Greenbrier, Tenn.
P Chad Zinchini, Hendersonville, Tenn.